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Lions Head Coach Jim Caldwell: "This is a good team. Very, very good football team"


Q: How nice was that victory at Green Bay after such a trying year?

Coach Caldwell:"At this stage of the game, it was good to get any, regardless of where it was or who it was against. I felt like our guys hung in there, fought and played well and came away with a close one. They're all close in this league, but that's a very difficult team to beat at their own stadium."

Q: How has your team been able to hold up with all of the coaching changes and moving parts that have been going on in the past few weeks?

Coach Caldwell:"It's a solid group of guys. They're just the kind of people that you like. They fight and they scrap and dig and they don't complain. They don't have a 'woe is me' attitude – they just work. When you have those kinds of guys, you're going to give yourself a chance so they've been good that way."

Q: How does losing Aldon Smith change the Raiders' defense in your opinion?

Coach Caldwell:"Well they're very, very talented first of all. Just like anything else, it's not just built around one man. They have so many talented guys over there on defense. Obviously the guy who creates all the havoc for you, [Khalil] Mack, is certainly doing a great job. When you look at him on film, he's powerful, he's fast, he can get after it. They have a big, big front on the interior. Big guys who are tough to move, they do a nice job. Then Mario Edwards Jr. who they've had him rushing inside, I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up outside because he can rush either place, inside or out. [Ray-Ray] Armstrong, I'm assuming, will probably play a little bit more. But all of those guys have talent. This is a talented group. Obviously [Charles] Woodson back there kind of controlling things for them in the perimeter, they do a nice job."


Q: What are your thoughts on the Raiders' offense? Amari Cooper has been doing a good job as a rookie and Derek Carr has come into his own as quarterback.**

Coach Caldwell:"Very explosive. A running back who is big and strong and a hard-nose guy who can really run. He's got size, got speed in [Latavius] Murray and [Taiwan] Jones obviously has speed as well. They do a nice job up front with their offensive line. They have a lot of different schemes, give you some problems with their big people. But on the flanks with [Derek] Carr playing really well, getting the ball out quickly, he's been getting the ball in positions where the guy can catch it and run with it. [Michael] Crabtree is playing excellent ball and [Amari] Cooper is as fine of a route runner as you'll find and an explosive guy. And they do a nice job just in terms of mixing it up with the tight ends down the middle on you and things of that nature. Obviously they have more than just those two receivers. There's guys across the board that have done a nice job for them. This is a good team. Very, very good football team."

Q: What have you seen on tape over the last few Raiders games when it comes to Mario Edwards Jr? What is it about his game that makes him successful?

Coach Caldwell:"Well I think I just kind of mentioned, he's an outstanding pass rusher first of all. He gives you problems on the inside, he's quick. He's got power. And they've also had him outside a little bit on the edge and he certainly can do well out there. That's why I said I wouldn't be surprised if they put him outside because, particularly in the nickel package, he's certainly capable. But not only that, he's been excellent against the run. He's hard to block because of the athleticism because of his speed and power. And he's tenacious, he just doesn't give up."

Q: You guys seem to be able to put a lot of pressure on the quarterback with Ezekiel Ansah. Can you talk about his development?

Coach Caldwell:"Speaking of [Ezekiel Ansah], every day he gets better. That's the unique thing about him. He didn't play a whole lot of football growing up and I think he's really coming into his own. When you're 280 pounds and you run as fast as he does, he has power, he has length, he's relentless and he knows how to get to the quarterback. He can do it inside or outside. He's a real handful to handle. He's been good for us in a number of cases. We've been able to apply the pressure from time to time depending on the team. We don't always have to do it, fortunately, with blitz. Those guys up front give us a chance."

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